Eni CEO Interested in Iran, Needs to Recover Money Spent First

Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil producer, is interested in returning to Iran once sanctions end as long as it can first recover investments made in the country, Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said.

“We started our discussion with Iran but we are more actually discussing about the outstanding issue, outstanding money that we are to recover from the past projects,” Descalzi said Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Iran in terms of oil and gas is a huge and big country, very interesting, but we need to wait.”

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have also expressed interest in developing Iran’s reserves, the world’s fourth-biggest, once sanctions over its nuclear program are removed. Oil officials from the country, which reached an accord this month to ease international restrictions on its energy industry, will attend a conference in London in December to discuss contracts.

Eni invested in Iran in the early 2000s, focusing on operations around the Persian Gulf. Descalzi said he needed to find out more about the new contract model on offer, which should be “closer to what we have in other countries.”

Paolo Scaroni, Eni’s former CEO, has said Iran will need to offer better terms than its previous contract -- the so-called buyback model -- to attract investment. The buyback contract left companies with the full burden of any additional costs incurred during projects, he said.

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